Joanne Chamberlain will lead a pair of workshops that focus on turning items from the garden into art May 5 at the Lennox and Addington County Museum and Archives.
The first event of the day will be part of the Museum Kids series, and will involve creating hand-dyed handkerchiefs.
“I dye with onion skins, and I grow purple sweet potatoes, they’re a beautiful thing to dye with, and red cabbage,” explains Chamberlain of Willowbrook Farm. “It’s all very old fashioned looking because that’s what they used to dye with.”
The event, which is free of charge, will begin at 10 a.m. Just one week ahead of Mother’s Day, it could make for the perfect gift as well.
Later that day she’ll host a workshop that is dedicated to her other passion, which is gourd art. Part of the County’s Heritage Art Workshop, the event is $35 per person and is recommended for anyone 14 years and older.
Using gourds as the canvas, she’ll walk guests through how to decorate it using a variety of techniques.
“Anything you do on wood, pretty much you can do on gourds,” said Chamberlain. “The hard outer layer is basically paper thin, but extremely hard.”
She’ll bring with her gourds of all shapes and sizes and allow guests the opportunity to experiment with different styles of art.
“I use paint or ink,” explains Chamberlain. “I burn on them, I etch them with a Dremel. I make them into bowls or vases.”
Though it may seem like an odd medium for art to some people, the tradition of using gourds has actually been around for quite some time.
“In more southern areas where they can grow them more easily, they have been a part of many cultures for thousands of years,” said Chamberlain. “Gourds are different than pumpkins in that there is no food value, they are simply a vessel.”
For that reason it’s not uncommon to see them turned into a drinking cup or even a boat if big enough.
Guests will be able to take their creations home with them at the end of the workshop and armed with the knowledge they learned throughout the talk, they’ll be able to create their own works of art at home.
Preregistration for the heritage workshop is required by calling 613-354-3027. This workshop will be the third and final one of the spring series hosted by the museum. They’ve proven to be quite a hit so far, with the first two selling out.